Army football to join AAC in 2024

By Army Athletic Communications Date: Wednesday, Nov 01, 2023 Time: 10:21 EST
Army West Point has accepted an invitation to join the American Athletic Conference (AAC) in football only, beginning in the 2024 season, Mike Buddie, Director of Athletics, announced Oct. 25. (Graphic by Army Athletic Communicaitons)

Army West Point has accepted an invitation to join the American Athletic Conference (AAC) in football only, beginning in the 2024 season, Mike Buddie, Director of Athletics, announced Oct. 25.

"I am excited to start the next chapter of Army football. In today's evolving collegiate athletics landscape, it is great to partner with established, respected programs to secure the future success of Army football," Buddie said. "New NCAA rules, the evolution and growth of the College Football Playoff, the transfer portal, and name, image and likeness have all impacted our competitive landscape, so having a clear path to a Conference Championship, while continuing to fight for the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy, will help us attract, retain and showcase our exceptional coaches and cadets.  What better pairing than to have America's Team joining the American Athletic Conference?"
 
The historic Army-Navy Game, presented by USAA, will continue to be played annually as a non-conference game on its standalone weekend, the second weekend in December, as Navy is also a football-only member of the AAC.
 
The AAC championship game, held on the first Saturday of December would create the possibility of Army and Navy playing twice if both programs finished first and second respectively in the AAC regular season. The two programs would meet in exciting fashion in the AAC championship game followed by the Army-Navy Game, presented by USAA, the following week.
 
Army football will continue its TV rights partnership with CBS Sports Network through 2028, as the exclusive home for Army's home game schedule.

Army will also continue to play Air Force annually, preserving the battle of the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy between the three service academies.
 
Army's 2024 schedule, which will include a full American Athletic Conference slate, will be announced later.

This move provides the continued opportunity for cadet-athletes from other Army athletic programs to excel and pursue the highest levels of competition in their respective conferences, such as the Patriot League and other sport-specific conferences.
 
Army football had previously played as an Independent football program in every season of its existence since 1890, except for a seven-season stretch where they were a member of Conference USA (1998-2004).

"We are honored to welcome Army to the American Athletic Conference. Army's football program has an iconic national brand with a legacy of success that spans more than a century and is a perfect fit with our conference," said Mike Aresco, AAC commissioner. "We are immensely proud to welcome another of our nation's distinguished service academies with a proud history and central role in defending America and our freedoms, and which is one of the nation's most prestigious academic institutions. I would like to thank Lt. Gen. Steven Gilland and Athletic Director Mike Buddie for their vision and partnership throughout this process. We look forward to having Army and coach Jeff Monken on our sidelines beginning in 2024."
 
Army joins the AAC at a time of major conference realignment. Former AAC programs Houston, Cincinnati and UCF left ahead of the 2023 season for other opportunities. SMU is also leaving after the 2023 season. The AAC added six new schools ahead of the 2023 season -- North Texas, UTSA, Rice, FAU, Charlotte and UAB.